Zelensky to meet Erdoğan in Istanbul

President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky will pay a visit to Türkiye upon the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss the ongoing Russian occupation of Ukraine and its implications, a week before the key NATO summit. It will be Zelensky's first visit to Türkiye since the war began on Feb. 24, 2022.

Erdoğan will host Zelensky in Istanbul as the two leaders first hold bilateral talks and then chair delegations.

On the top of the agenda is the upcoming NATO leaders' summit slated for July 11-12 in Vilnius where the alliance will discuss providing security assurances to Ukraine. Ukraine also wants a path for its membership to NATO to be opened at the summit.

Zelensky will demand Türkiye's support so that NATO members pledge heavier weapons as well as jetfighters in a bid to push its counteroffensive against Russia.

The two leaders will also discuss the ongoing grain initiative that allowed Ukraine to export more than 30 million tons of wheat and other food products around the world since August 2022. Russia says it will not extend the initiative which will expire on July 17 because its conditions have not been met.

Russia cannot export its own wheat, ammonium and fertilizers because of the secondary sanctions imposed by the West. The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement on July 5 that Ankara is continuing its efforts for the extension of the initiative through talks with Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations.

Following intense diplomacy, Türkiye had brokered a deal with Russia and Ukraine for the resumption of grain export through the Black Sea in July 2022. It hosts the mechanism that oversees the implementation of the grain initiative with the participation of the officials from Türkiye, Russia,...

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